Why was it so hard for you?
I have a couple of questions: 1) I'm curious what made this particular hike so hard for you...was it the lack of oxygen (no vegetation to produce O2)? Was it the consistency of the trail (loose gravel)?
2) How long had you been in Japan (at sea level) before ascending Mt. Fuji? (I live at 5600' in the Rocky Mountains and plan on ascending Mt. Fuji the day after I arrive in Japan...I was somewhat worried about altitude sickness so close to a long flight...but I didn't want to lose my acclimation to altitude by hanging around too long after I landed)...thoughts?
3) When I hike in the Rocky Mountains, I usually go in shorts, T-shirt and tennis shoes with a light wind breaker in my pack...from the videos I've seen, it's always windy at the summit of Fujisan. Is it a foolish approach to dress lightly on Fuji? (I'm a heavy boy - around 270 pounds - and I heat up quickly).
Thanks for posting this great website...very informative and well put-together.
Hi BluePete. So nice to hear from you & thanks for your kind words. I envy your location. I used to live in Denver, the Mile High City, so you have me beat by 400'. :-)
For me the toughest part of climbing Mt. Fuji was not any of the reasons you mentioned nor the elevation gain (~4800' on the main Kawaguchiko trail), but the ungodly hours of hiking all night at a time when I'm normally getting my beauty rest. :-)
Altitude sickness is probably not an issue for most people in reasonably good shape & accustomed to mountain climbing above 10,000', but it does occur, so I'd suggest avoiding alcohol & tobacco, keeping your body hydrated, and taking along some aspirin in case of a headache. Oxygen bottles may be available at some mountain huts, but I imagine they're a tad pricey up there.
You might also want to stay 1 night at Mt. Fuji's base (~3200') to help your body get acclimatized before trekking.
An excellent report on the causes and prevention of altitude sickness can be found here.
As for temps, on average it gets down into the 30's at night on Mt. Fuji's summit, so if you're in shorts, you might get a bit chilly. And hypothermia does in fact occur up there, even in summer, especially if it rains and the wind kicks up.
You may wish to consider the kind of hiking pants I use, where you can unzip the legs (just above the knee) if things start heating up. :-)
Best wishes to you and feel free to share your pics on this page with other hikers when you get back to Utah...
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